On April 21, 2023, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new prize competition focusing on clean energy sources that boost community disaster resilience by keeping essential services functioning during power outages.
This competition highlights the Department’s efforts to address risks posed by the global climate crisis.
The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) administers prize competitions to crowdsource innovation and harness the creativity of the American public to solve critical homeland security challenges.
“The speed with which technology is advancing provides opportunities to increase our effectiveness through innovation. Harnessing the benefits offered by these advances is particularly important to our work during emergencies when it is imperative that our critical infrastructure remains functional and can serve our communities,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas.
“The Clean Power for Hours Challenge opens a door for the creative and innovative minds of our nation to submit clean energy solutions that will effectively support communities in times of need,” he added.
The Clean Power for Hours Challenge seeks innovative back-up power solutions that will help critical facilities such as fire stations, hospitals, and shelters, continue to operate during electrical outages.
Winning solutions should be environmentally friendly, affordable, easy-to-use, and provide back-up power generation for critical facilities that serve communities across the United States.
This is particularly vital to National Critical Functions (NCF) that support essential community lifelines.
“It is a priority for us to ensure the country can mitigate the many risks that come with climate change,” said Dr. Dimitri Kusnezov, DHS Under Secretary for Science and Technology.
“More frequent and severe weather events will increase the likelihood of power outages all over the country. Harnessing grassroots innovators to help us address climate resilience in this challenge can further enhance our mission to protect everyday Americans,” he continued.
The Challenge is open to U.S. citizens, permanent legal residents and businesses incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.
The Challenge will take place in two stages.
In the first stage, contestants will provide a written or video submission describing how their solution meets the judging criteria. Up to 15 finalists will receive $10,000 and advance to stage two.
In the second stage, finalists will compete with their advanced solution for the grand prize of $400,000, a runner-up prize of $200,000, and up to two honorable mention prizes of $50,000.
DHS established the first-ever Climate Change Action Group (CCAG), which is comprised of senior officials from across the Department, to focus on promoting resilience and addressing multiple risks that include flooding, extreme heat, drought and wildfires.
The CCAG oversees the implementation of the Climate Action Plan and guides DHS’ approach to managing the climate crisis.
All submissions are due by August 8, 2023.
Image is by Colin Behrens from Pixabay